Fact: social media sites drive over 31% of all referral traffic on the Internet.
With all the new channels constantly emerging, it’s very easy to fall into the trap of thinking about social media as a tactical plan instead of a strategic one.
The best social media plans set forth measurable goals that work with any social venue.
We understand why it makes sense to pay attention to social media, but where should you focus your attention?
People use different social networks to cover different aspects of their lives.
There are the big guns like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. And other familiar names like Instagram, Pinterest, and Vine. However, these are just a drop in the bucket when it comes to all of the social media channels out there. And although they are “smaller,” they still have tens or hundreds of thousands of users. If a large percentage of these users are in your target audience, you should be strongly considering adding it to your active social media strategy.
Here’s the big benefit of smaller networks: barely any other business uses them!
Think about it. The biggest businesses need a huge audience, so they stick to the biggest social networks. Companies like Coca-Cola, Nike, or Toyota cannot survive on a couple dozen sales leads a day. But you CAN, and actually you can thrive.
Small home businesses owners typically believe that they should just try to copy the big businesses…
This is the reason you see thousands of your competitors doing the exact same thing on Facebook and Instagram.
With smaller social channels, there is zero competition! You can quickly amass followers and drive large amounts of traffic to your website in no time.
You start seeing faster responsiveness, better lead results, and more sales profit.
This Intentional Marketer University post is all about a simple strategy that will work on just about every social network out there.
How to Find Small Social Networks
Expect to have to dig around for 30–60 minutes to find the best one for your business.
There are hundreds of social networks that will work amazingly well for your niche audience, so you just need to spend the time finding the one that is right for your business.
Check out this list of social media channels you’re probably not using and see if any have potential for your business.
Pheed does more than let users share video, text, music, and photos. It also offers live broadcasts and a pay-per-view option. Users set their own price for their content.
With Thumb, ask a question and get feedback from other users in real time. You can also share your own opinions and start conversations with peers on topics of interest.
Share your stuff with sound. Chirp uses a short two second chirp sound to send your message or photo from your phone to any phones in audio range. Chirps can also be broadcast over loudspeakers, or embedded in YouTube videos.
Ask.fm is a social network built on a question and answer format. Users can ask each other questions and respond to questions asked. Users can also respond with photos, videos, and animated GIFs.
Learnist is a social learning service. It’s like a digital clipboard for education where users can create ‘Learnboards.’ There is also curated content, and sequenced lessons and resources.
RebelMouse is a publishing platform wired for social media. It enables marketers and media companies to control their real-time digital experiences across multiple channels and devices.
Yammer is an enterprise social software. Only users within a certain Internet domain can access their respective network. This way communication remains private within organizations.
Ning allows you to create your own custom social network. You can customize the appearance and features. Options include pictures, videos, forums, blogs, liking, and sharing.
WhatsApp is a cross-platform mobile messaging app. Users can send photos and videos, share their location, and create groups. There are thousands of home business owners, boutique owners, and other vendors with shippable merchandise that use WhatsApp on Instagram. It is a stress free, confidential, and easy to use method for communicating with buyers around the country. By installing the app on their phone, the buyer can text you their size, address, and other information without sharing it on social media.
PicsArt is a photo editing app combined with a social network. Users can share their photos, discover images other users have uploaded, create a collage, co-edit, and enter contests.
Hi5 is a social entertainment site. Users can use features similar to other social media sites like sharing photos, connecting with friends, and meeting new people. But hi5’s big focus is on playable games.
Members on Buzznet share photos, journals, videos, and other content based on their interests. Most content shared centers around music and popular media. Content shared can be tagged and found on topic pages.
About.me wants to help make your personal homepage into a share-able digital business card. You can connect a resume, or “backstory,” and add a mission statement to your profile. Users also gain access to stats on who visited their site, what they clicked on, and where they are from.
Archetypes allows users create a customized “Story Page.” Users take a quiz to determine what their personal archetypes are and then that information is displayed on their page. Other features are included to flesh out personal preferences and connect users with each other.
Tsu gives its members a chance to share in earned revenue for the content they create. This method motivates users to create compelling content as well as gives them ownership in what they turn out. Membership is by invite only so it’s a little exclusive.
How to Use:
Your goal is to find the few networks that are likely to have your target audience. All networks have their own purpose — their own sort of niche(s).
For now, write down all the networks you think might have your target audience. As you work through this task on your own, you will be able to determine if your choices are good networks to spend your time on.
Step 1: Look at the Users
Once you’ve chosen a few networks to check out, you can start learning about them.
New social media sites pop up constantly. Start to spend a bit of time on the site and you understand how the site works and how users interact with each other, which is where the opportunity is.
Whenever a new form of social emerges, of course you check it out. After all, you — and your business — should always be on the forefront of trends. Plus you want to know, “Is this a good fit for my business?”
But, after browsing all the social media sites out there, which ones should you really stick with? The plan is always to find ways to connect with your target audience and then get them back to your website whenever possible.
Understand the Basic Mechanics of the Site.
Although these smaller networks don’t often have marketing guides written about them, most will have some sort of tutorial you can read to help you out.
For example, if you Google:
How LinkedIn works
You will find guides and tutorials offering explanations of the main functions of the site.
At the very minimum, every successful site has some sort of help documentation where you can look up the functions of certain buttons or definitions of site’s terms.
Learn How Users Interact
Learning what the major parts of the network are will tell you the main purpose of the network from the audience themselves.
It’s important to know: what, why, and how people interact on the site.
Pick one social media network, get extremely good at delivering what your audience wants from it, and then, when you have systems in place for getting new followers, generating leads, and bringing people over to your newsletter, website, or funnel, only then would you move on to the next social network.
Learn How to Drive Traffic from Your Chosen Site
It can be hard to figure out the best way to get users of a site over to your website.
To make it easier, you can look for businesses already on the network. Study them to find out how they connect their social profiles and activities with their website.
What you want to do is pinpoint as many types of interaction on the network as possible where users can click a link. There is no magic formula for getting people to click back to your website. For this reason, vary the length and format of your content for many different kinds of readers. Intersperse shorter, news-based blog posts with long-form content as well as video, infographics and data-driven pieces for maximum impact.
Find at least one realistic path of getting users back to your website, the network has potential, and you have the foundations of a strategy.
Step 2: Connect With Anyone You May Already Know( or Have A Common Connection With)
- The best way to make new connections is to “follow,” “friend,” or use whatever connection mechanism the site has, to connect with people with a certain interest.
- What about sending an email to your email list? Since you’ve already identified that your target audience might like this network, you could invite them to join it and connect with you.
- A quick template to open up the door could be:
Subject: I just discovered something amazing…
After searching for a great (your industry) community outside of the big ones (Facebook, Instagram, etc.), I have hit the jackpot!
A couple weeks ago, I started looking at this social network called (name of site). So far, I am really impressed with the quality of users in our industry on this site.
(Here is where you will insert all the great aspects of the network that your subscriber would be interested in).
I am email today to let you know that I think you would be interested in joining. It’s free, of course, here’s the signup link: (URL).
All you have to do is create an account, and send me a friend invite (my username is (username)).
I think you will really find this site useful too!
Your goal here is to start building some connections and followers. You don’t need hundreds or thousands — just try to get a few dozen for now.
Step 3: How Much Time do You Have?
And now for the question every reader is screaming at their computer right now…
“How long does this process take to start seeing results”?
If you don’t think you could do it for longer than 5–6 months, you might as well not start.
This is honestly, the mentality that you need to possess with any strategy that you are using in your business.
Want to make the dime, got to spend the time… (Yes that’s an IMU original, corny we knowJ) But true!!
Basically, Your Time Break Down Will Look Like This:
Every Monday, revisit your strategy to make sure you’re on the right track and focusing on the right areas
Time: 1 hour
Monday through Friday, implement the strategy. Schedule, create, and post updates. Engage with the community.
Time: 2 hours
Every Friday, check your metrics. See how you’re doing on your goals, and identify areas for growth.
Time: 1 hour
Total time: 12 hours per week
Depending on the scope of your business, your time could be greater or smaller than this. The above times are simply a guide and benchmark for your own social strategy. (www.blog.bufferapp.com)
So, if you commit to a good strategy and follow it, you’ll get there a lot faster, but it will still take time.
You need to be patient and be willing to keep working for months without seeing much in the way of results. Overnight success rarely happens overnight. Your results will start slow but grow faster and faster over time (this is the process to becoming ‘sticky’).
Step 4: The key to social media success
How you execute your strategy on a consistent basis will either make you or break you.
Besides having the right mindset, you’ll also need other things, namely content.
Content is articles and guides that you can share with the network community through your profile.
Decide on content
These five content marketing strategies have been found to drive popularity:
Buyers are doing more of their own research online. To help buyers recognize needs, you must leverage content that illuminates trends, highlights issues, and provides tangible ideas on how to solve problems. The more independent the content, the more credible it is.
- Article highlights
- Thought-provoking blogs
Offering exclusive contests, discounts and deals are popular ways to connect with buyers who seek a “bargain” from every purchase. Create a dialogue with your followers, fans and connections. Here are the keys to success:
- Monitoring activity
- Actively engaging the user base
- Answering questions
- Providing advice
The marketers that appear most successful are leveraging the right content at the right time to connect on a personal level and move the buying cycle forward.
Everyone needs a laugh now and then, and entertaining content is playing a larger role than ever in attracting attention and driving popularity. Entertaining yet thought-provoking videos, animations and cartoons are being used to great effect to gain followers, fans and connections.
Determine your participation frequency:
Every network is different when it comes to posting frequency.
You don’t want to post so much that you annoy your followers, but you need to post enough to grow a bigger audience and more followers.
To figure out how often you should post, you’ll have to test different frequencies.
To start with, look at the most popular users (say 10–20), and record the number of posts per week they make.
Find an average of those numbers, and start with this frequency.
Step 5: If you want success, you have to be consistent. That’s it.
Come up with a system that will help keep you on track: efficiency and ease of implementation.
Having to log in and make a post every X hours is not easy or efficient. You’ll likely miss some posts that you’d like to make, which will slow down your results.
Use automation (but wisely!)
Some things shouldn’t be automated:
- Curating content — don’t just share any content. Take the time to read posts so that you can share the best ones.
- Interacting with users — you can’t automate authentic conversation. If you’re ever commenting or messaging a user, do it yourself.
What can be automated, however, is the actual posting of the content. You can do all the curating beforehand and then have it posted automatically.
Streamline manual processes: Do all of the steps in batches.
Batching is a productivity technique, where you do the same task many times in one sitting.
This reduces time spent switching between tasks and helps you get “in the zone” while working.
When it comes to your social media strategy, pick a day once every week or two to curate content. Find as many posts as you’ll need for those weeks so that you can just schedule them to be posted.
And as for interaction, don’t constantly check your account for new notifications.
Instead, set a time or two, like first thing in the morning and last part of the working day, to check your account and reply to your followers.
Social media sites are one of the best sources of traffic.
But just because a network isn’t named Facebook or Twitter doesn’t mean it can’t help your business.
Smaller social networks often have far fewer marketers on them than larger ones do, which makes any type of marketing on them much more effective.